Comic Book Review: William Gibson’s Alien 3 #4
Last month I couldn’t help but feel impressed with the leaps that this story has taken in such a short time. I always feared that transitioning between a movie script and comic might be a rough cut. You might have a story that is too much of just a story, and that comes with the risk of losing readers before things get good. If I was someone who judged a story based on just the first issue, I can’t say I would be here right now, but I’m not. Glad for it when it’s never about how crap will hit the fan in a story like this, it’s when.
I was very excited that with these past two chapters the ball has gotten rolling. This creative team’s best friend now is pacing and momentum. Both have picked up and the events of this issue tell us that they are ready to hold on to this. Especially when we are at that point where you are either a part of the problem currently, or you’re a part of the solution. That brings me to the resistance first, and by resistance I mean those who work with Weyland-Yutani who have had their eyes open to the horrors in what they have signed up for. I love these moments of revelation because no one is ever ready to have to deal with Weyland-Yutani’s maddening desire to experiment with the Xenomorphs. It’s never until that point when you realize just how expendable you are for the sake of their wealth and hunger for power. That is why I found it so enjoyable when this group takes command of this situation to stop the danger before it could get any worse.
The fear and panic from this group was interesting to follow for the fact that many don’t normally have this kind of time to figure things out. It would usually get much worse before anyone can piece together plans or an end game. Being a team of scientists and engineers made this a refreshing scenario as well because this isn’t one of those times where we are dealing with a cast of characters commanded by their emotions. That is where a horror story becomes predictable. They use their brains, and that allows for a lot of things to happen that might not be possible under different circumstances. Well, almost all of them used their brains…. There had to be that one.
What was so unique about this chapter was also finding out just how extreme these transformations into Xenomorphs can be under different circumstances. Just using the word transformation is something to get used to. Most times you are used to the seed being implanted and having the offspring emerge from your chest. This shakes up that expectation.
Something that also caught my attention is the lengths that some of these people are willing to go to contain the danger. This may be one of those stories where you expect a lot of lives to be thrown away for the greater good, but it is only commendable if that is done for an actual reason. Where these people were willing to go made you ready and willing to root for them to make it to the end. Nothing is guaranteed, yet it matters to have characters you can care for because of their actions or sense of duty.
Like the issue before, the appeal in the interior art at this stage comes from indulging in the nightmarish experience with Xenomorphs. William Gibson’s script is one to admire because it allows for so much creativity to go into the visual representation of the Xenomorph threat. You never get tired of the way that a Xenomorph develops or the way that they create their nests, but this story allowed this art team to take things a step further. It was chilling to actually see someone transform into one of these abominations, grotesque to see some of the more unique ways that they can kill someone as well. Even if we didn’t see someone’s demise, the way that their corpses were left behind said enough about their final moments. The detail that goes into every bit of this is appreciated for setting both the mood and atmosphere. I was actually surprised that this time around there wasn’t much reliance on color overlays or changes in hue to signal approaching danger. That was probably wise to add to the suspense as well. Aside from that, there was a consistency to the quality in colors that struck a solid balance between what’s lively and not so lively about this series.
William Gibson’s Alien 3 #4 keeps us on the right track with this story that is consistently climbing in urgency and danger. Now that the stakes are set, everything came down to what these characters are willing to do to both survive and do what’s best for anyone else who might be at risk of exposing themselves to the Xenomorph threat.